MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) faces a great challenge in the upcoming 2022 National Elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the possible major changes would be the schedule of the candidates’ filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) for the purpose of minimizing crowds and to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Like mayor and vice mayor, they are both single elected positions. Baka mga dalawa o tatlong araw ang para sa kanila. The rest of the filing dates will be for the candidates for the Sangguniang Panlungsod o Sangguniang Bayan,” explained Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Bart Sinocruz.
The Comelec en banc is about to decide whether or not to require candidates to submit a negative COVID-19 test.
The poll body may also issue guidelines on how candidates will conduct campaigns.
Even the presidential debate would possibly be done in hybrid wherein only the presidential candidates are present in the venue.
“Malaki talaga ang impact ng ating covid pandemic but rest assured the comelec is doing its best and kaya naman ng Comelec na gawin ito despite this COVID-19 pandemic,” noted Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo.
The Comelec will resume voter registration on May 17 after the President placed the NCR Plus area under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.
The poll body encourages the public to use the online i-rehistro platform in submitting information before going to the registration sites.
The deadline for registration is on September 30.
Registration venues are open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
“Ultimately kailangan pa ring magpa biometrics so they really have to go to the Comelec offices,” noted Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez.
Based on Comelec data, there are around 58.9 million registered voters expected for next year.
To date, there are about 3.5 million actual new registrants out of the Comelec’s target of 5.5 million individuals. –MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)